The Yankees didn’t hit much tonight, CC Sabathia’s command wasn’t as good as usual and the Tigers got a spark from their freshly promoted second baseman. There were several reasons the Yankees lost this game, but base-running mistakes clearly cost them.
“How does it affect the game?” Joe Girardi said. “None of us will really know, but you hate to make foolish outs.”
Jorge Posada in the sixth inning
We’ll start with the last of the three, but the also the one that was most obviously a mistake. Posada was running on his own. It was a 4-1 game at the time, there were two outs, and Posada thought he could get himself into scoring position for Andruw Jones. He broke before Brad Penny threw a pitch and was picked off easily. Girardi called it a play that, “just can’t happen.”
“They weren’t paying attention to me,” Posada said. “I was trying to get into scoring position for Andruw. I thought I could sneak in there. I messed up. I completely messed up.”
Robinson Cano in the sixth inning
This was the out immediately before Posada’s. In fact, Posada was at the plate when Cano saw a pitch in the dirt and started to break for second base. When Cano realized catcher Alex Avila had a play, he froze and was caught in a run down. Girardi said Cano’s read was good, but he had to keep going once he committed to second base.
“I was going to go because I saw him going to his left,” Cano said. “But it stayed too close and Posada stopped me. I stopped, but I should have kept running… If I stay on first base, it should be first-and-third and Andruw coming to hit. Those are mistakes you learn from and don’t let them happen again.”
Andruw Jones in the fourth inning
This was the play that had nothing to do with a runner’s decision. Jones tagged up and tried to score on a fly ball to medium right field. Third-base coach Rob Thomson told him to tag, but Jones was out by several feet with Avila blocking his slide well up the third-base line.
“With two outs you’re going to take a chance scoring at home,” Girardi said. “That’s what you do, and that’s a normal play.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame interview.
• I’m sure I’ll have more on this in the morning, but Derek Jeter talked tonight about feeling more comfortable now that he’s moved a little more toward his old mechanics. He said he’s started using his lower half a little more, which accounts for a line-drive single in the first and a sharp line-drive out in the seventh. “I think the first few weeks of the season I was thinking a lot,” he said. “Thinking too much and trying to worry about too many different things and that’s difficult to do, but right now I feel good.”
• CC Sabathia’s command was off tonight. We’re not used to seeing him this way, and he’s not used to pitching this way. “You are surprised, but you just got to get through it,” he said. “Do whatever you can to make pitches. You can’t stop calling changeups. You can’t stop calling my cutter. You just got to battle through it.” All things considered, Sabathia did a great job pitching through the seventh and generally limiting the damage.
• To help him late in the game, Sabathia started going to his straight fastball more than his two-seamer. “I normally go to my changeup, but that wasn’t there either,” he said. “I just started going to four-seamers instead of two-seamers trying to get ahead, and that seemed to work a little bit later in the game.”
• Girardi went to the mound to discuss walking Miguel Cabrera in the fifth inning because, he said, he didn’t want it to be a surprise from the bench. Girardi wanted to tell Sabathia his plan, and Sabathia said he had no problem with it. It worked as Sabathia stranded the bases loaded. “I felt like, to give them another run, the fifth run I thought would be too many the way we were swinging the bats tonight,” Girardi said.
• The Yankees had two extra-base hits, an RBI double by Russell Martin and a solo home run by Mark Teixeira. It was Teixiera’s eighth homer of the season, tying him with Cano and Curtis Granderson for the team lead.
• Sabathia is 1-5 with a 5.54 ERA in his past six starts at Comerica Park dating back to 2006.
• Former Yankees prospect Austin Jackson had a nice night for the Tigers going 2-for-5 with a double, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored.
• Posada has looked a little better at the plate the past few days, including a 2-for-4 tonight. He was the only Yankees batter with more than one hit. Brett Gardner also continued his resurgence with a single and another walk.
• Cano said his bruised hand hurt him only when Miguel Cabrera grounded out to second. That ball just happened to hit Cano’s hand in exactly the right spot.
• Scott Sizemore played second base for the Tigers tonight (called up today and reached base three times). Thing is, not once but twice in today’s game post I called him Scott Strickland. I have no idea why. I know Scott Strickland, I covered Scott Strickland and I know Scott Strickland was not playing second base for the Tigers today. One of those things, I guess. Sorry about that if anyone thought the former major league reliever was now a middle infielder in the Detroit system.
• Don’t forget: Chat tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. I’ll be there, you should be there too! Tell your boss that you’ve worked a lot of days in a row and need an hour off. Girardi says it’s a good idea.
Associated Press photos of Granderson, Cano, Sabathia and Teixeira